Business in Brief: October 29

Teva buys Merck Serono women’s health unit; ‘Israel Today’ could lose train distribution; Subaru importer to sell Ferrari, Maserati.

Teva buys Merck Serono women’s health unit
Globes correspondent
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has acquired Théramex and related companies, the women’s health products division of Germany’s Merck KGaA unit Merck Serono, for €265 million, plus milestone payments.
Teva will fund the acquisition from its internal resources and expects to close the deal by the end of the year or in early 2011.
Théramex offers a wide variety of women’s health products sold in 50 countries. It had €100m. revenue in 2009, including sales in the countries in which Teva will acquire distribution rights, such as Spain and Brazil. A large part of its revenue is from direct sales in France and Italy.
Théramex’s drug-development pipeline includes a new oral contraceptive based on natural estrogens, NOMAC/E2, which has successfully completed a Phase III clinical trial and been submitted for approval in Europe.
‘Israel Today’ could lose train distribution
Free newspaper Israel Today may lose its distribution rights at Israel Railways as early as Sunday. Serious disputes have emerged between the newspaper, owned by Sheldon Adelson, and Hedria Train Media Ltd., which owns the advertising franchise at Israel Railways, informed sources told Globes. Sources at Israel Railroads said Israel Today could be replaced by a newspaper published by Yediot Aharonot.
Until two years ago, Israel Today was distributed at train stations under a tender from Israel Railways. Distribution was later contracted to Hedria, and the agreement was renewed at the same terms for one year. Hedria is willing to maintain price levels, but Israel Today wants to lower the price, people familiar with the matter said.
Subaru importer to sell Ferrari, Maserati
Subaru importer Zeevi Group will market Ferrari and Maserati sports cars in Israel. The franchise to Ferrari and Maserati was awarded a few months ago to the Alon Group, an importer of heavy mechanical equipment that is new to the private-car market. Alon Group held talks with several importers over the actual sale of the brands in Israel, before choosing Zeevi Group, owned by Gad Zeevi. Zeevi Group will set up a separate subsidiary with the franchisee.
Italian carmaker Fiat Automobiles SpA owns Ferrari and Maserati, both of which target the high-end sports-car market. Starting prices for Ferraris and Maseratis are about $150,000 before taxes. The starting price of a Maserati in Israel will reportedly be NIS 1.4 million. Zeevi Group apparently obtained permission from Japan’s Subaru Motor Company for the deal. Dozens of cars are sold at this price in Israel annually.
CTV to build Israel’s largest billboard
Globes correspondent
CTV Media Ltd., owned by Fishman Holdings, is building Israel’s largest billboard, at an investment of NIS 4 million. The digital billboard will be placed at the new Cinema City complex in Rishon Lezion, and more than one million people a week are expected to see it.
The digital billboard will face Rishon Lezion’s main east-west artery, Rehov Moshe Dayan, between the Geha Highway (Route 4) and the Ayalon Highway (Route 20). An estimated 150,000 vehicles use the street daily. The billboard will also be visible to the parking lot of Cinema City, which has about 100,000 visitors during the week and 60,000 on weekends.